The High Five: fighting fire, breaking silence, and other top searches this week

2 days 13 hours ago

This week, search trends—with data from the Google News Lab—reflect nationwide concern about the Southern California wildfires, as well as end-of-year cultural milestones like TIME’s “Person of the Year” and “Spotify Wrapped.”

Southern California wildfires

As wildfires ravaged Southern California this week, people searched to find out “How do brush fires start?” and “Why are there so many wildfires in California?” People are also trying to prepare and do more to help: “How to become a wildfire fighter,” “How to protect your house from wildfires” and “How to how California fire victims” were among the top searches.

Silent, no longer

After TIME named its “Person of the Year” this week, search interest for “silence breaker” went up 31,000 percent. These are the women, both famous and unknown, who launched a movement against sexual harassment this year. Searchers were most curious about “how the TIME Person of the Year is chosen,” and the top searches for “Person of the Year” were Ashley Judd, Donald Trump, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Taylor Swift and Colin Kaepernick.

Coding craze

“Why do we need to learn coding?” was a top-searched question this week, and one that  Computer Science Education Week set out to answer. Searches about computer science ranged from basic questions like “What is coding” and “How to code,” to more advanced searches for programming languages (the most-searched languages were JavaScript, PHP and Python).

That’s a wrap

This week, Spotify released its “Wrapped” feature, which breaks down your music-listening habits over the past year. Spotify listeners wanted to know, “How to see Spotify 2017 Wrapped” and “How many songs have I listened to on Spotify?” The feature also tells you the number of minutes you spent listening to Spotify this year—and interestingly, search interest in “minutes to hours” went up 140 percent after Wrapped was released.


No more carbo-loading

Some people may already be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, with a recent uptick in searches for the Keto diet, which recommends fewer carbs and more fats. For some, carbs (or lack thereof) are top of mind: “How to make Keto bread” and “How many carbs can I have on Keto diet” were two of the top searches. Those who are ready to get cooking searched for “Keto chicken recipes” and “Keto dessert recipes.” And if Keto isn’t your thing, consider the other most-searched diets this week: Paleo diet, Military diet, and Mediterranean diet.

Putting a price on Bitcoin

2 days 17 hours ago
SCENE: A pet shop with a bored looking proprietor. A customer approaches CUSTOMER: I’d like to buy a parrot. OWNER: Certainly, sir. How about this one? It’s a Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage. CUSTOMER: It’s not moving much OWNER: It is tired and shagged out after a long squawk CUSTOMER: Fair enough. How much is it?

DaedTech Digest: Test Smells, Monitoring, Performance, Spell Check

3 days 1 hour ago

Hello, everybody.  It’s yet another week in my life where I successfully keep track of the normal work week without losing track of which days are the weekend and which aren’t.  To celebrate, here’s another DaedTech Digest Friday post. And, lest you think that I lose track of days of the week due to a […]

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Erik Dietrich

Your Search questions, answered selfie-style on Google

3 days 17 hours ago

Whether you watch them on TV, listen to them on a podcast, or read about them in a magazine, you spend a lot of time wondering about the people who inspire you. Personally, I’ve always wanted to know if my favorite actor Will Ferrell can really play the drums. Now in the U.S., you can find answers to questions about notable people on mobile Search, and they’re coming directly from the source.


When you search for your favorite personalities, whether they’re rising stars or well-known celebs, their answers will appear in the form of selfie-style videos with a uniquely personal, authentic and delightful touch.

We’re piloting this feature on mobile with answers from Priyanka Chopra, Will Ferrell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gina Rodriguez, Kenan Thompson, Allison Williams, Nick Jonas, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Seth MacFarlane, Jonathan Yeo and Dominique Ansel. Whether you’re wondering what Gina Rodriguez’s pet peeve is, what movie changed Nick Jonas’ life, or want Kenan Thompson’s input on what makes something funny, these self-recorded videos share their perspectives and answers to some of your most-asked questions.


Today’s announcement gives you a snapshot (or should we say selfie-shot) of what’s to come, but in the next few months, you may see more videos as you search for your favorite personalities. For now, pick up your phone to search for one of the people mentioned above—you just might find a surprise video answer waiting for you.

Conference Speaking Isn’t Good for Your Career Until You Make it Good

5 days ago

I like watching developer talks, live and recorded.  For my money (or free, depending on the venue), it doesn’t get any better than listening to Bob Martin work his way into a talk on software design by talking first about astronomy.  He and so many other speakers are engaging, charismatic, and informative. So we strive to […]

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Erik Dietrich

Improving Search and discovery on Google

5 days 13 hours ago

Search is not just about answering your questions—it’s also about discovery. We search to explore new topics of interest, to find new angles to ideas or things we think we already know, or even to uncover information that we didn’t even think to ask about.

Over the years, we've developed many features to help you discover more on your journeys through the web, starting with related searches almost 10 years ago, to more recent additions such as related questions (Related questions are labeled “People also ask” in search results). In the last few weeks, we've made three new additions to help you explore further, including expanded Featured Snippets, improved functionality of Knowledge Panels, and suggested content as you search for a particular topic.

Featured Snippets are algorithmically generated highlights of what's available on the web that provide quick, relevant answers for your queries. Today, we've added more images and related searches inside select Featured Snippets to help you learn even more about your topic, or to discover new things related to your interest.

We’ve also updated Knowledge Panels in Search to show related content. For example, while looking at the Knowledge Panel about skiing, you’ll see related searches for sports such as snowboarding directly inside the result.

Lastly, now while you’re researching a particular topic on Google—like soccer players for next year’s World Cup—and you search for Neymar followed by a search for Messi, you’ll see suggestions for related topics in the same vein at the top of the search results page so you can continue to discover other athletes during your search session.

We hope these three changes will have a big impact on helping you discover more from the web. You never know what surprising, new interests await.

Gain a deeper understanding of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder on Google

5 days 19 hours ago

Editor’s note:

Now when you search for "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder," “PTSD” or related queries on Google on mobile, you'll see a Knowledge Panel that will give you the option to tap “check if you may have PTSD”, which will bring you to PC-PTSD-5, a clinically validated screening questionnaire to assess your likelihood of having the condition. To ensure that the information shared in the PC-PTSD-5 questionnaire is accurate and useful, we’ve partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Center for PTSD, who have authored a guest post about this effort.

In any given year, about 14 million adults in the U.S. will experience Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can develop after any traumatic event, including combat, hurricanes, earthquakes or experiences like mass shootings, assaults or even car accidents. However, despite how common this condition is, treatment- seeking is low. In fact, only about half the people who have PTSD will receive treatment. To help people understand PTSD, we’ve collaborated with Google to provide simple, direct access to information that may help those who are suffering.

When you search for PTSD in the U.S. on your phone, a Knowledge Panel for the condition appears, providing an overview, facts and treatment information about the disorder. Now for the first time,the PC-PTSD-5, a clinically validated screening questionnaire to test your likelihood of having PTSD, is available directly from the search result. By tapping “check if you may have PTSD,” you can answer a private questionnaire to assess your likelihood of having PTSD and have a more informed conversation with your doctor. Getting an in-person assessment is essential to a diagnosis of PTSD, and this commonly- used screening tool gives you important information you can bring to your appointment.

PTSD can be treated, and the PC-PTSD-5 can be a crucial step toward getting proper diagnosis and treatment. If you, a family member or friend is struggling, organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the VA’s National Center for PTSD can provide support and information. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) or [email protected] if you have any questions about PTSD or finding support and resources. Veterans and their families can contact the VA National Center for PTSD at www.ptsd.va.gov for information and resources or the Veteran’s Crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate support.

It's Computer Science Education Week, and coding is everywhere

6 days 13 hours ago

I got into coding through classical music. When I studied it in college, I worked with a researcher who found a way to represent the notation of a large number of musical works digitally. I learned to code by doing various analyses to find patterns that automatically identified specific composers. These programs could distinguish between a Haydn and a Mozart piano sonata, which many musicians can’t even do. Once I saw the power of this skill, I had to learn more! I started taking some computer science (CS) classes, and ended up changing direction entirely from music to CS.

Now, as a VP in Engineering at Google, I work to close the gaps that exist in CS education and access (only 40% of U.S. schools offer CS classes and many kids from underrepresented backgrounds still don’t feel that CS is for them). To combat that, we’ve created programs like CS First and Made With Code that expose kids to computer science and computational thinking at an early age (rather than discovering it later in life like I did), and help them develop those critical skills. And once a year, we rally around Computer Science Education Week, a celebration to inspire students and educators to get excited about where CS can take them (hint: anywhere) and take that first step in learning to code. Since CSEdWeek started back in 2013, we’ve been a proud partner, reaching more than 15 million students and supporting 35,000+ events each year.

Our support continues this year, and we’re doing a lot to celebrate. Today’s homepage features the first-ever interactive coding-themed Doodle for kids, called “Coding for Carrots.” Anyone can try it out by using a simple programming language to solve puzzles. The code continues with an activity from CS First that lets you make your own custom Google logo, or you can try a holiday-themed emoji project from Made with Code.

Today's Doodle, "Coding for Carrots."

I hope these activities help kids realize that it’s easy to give coding a try, because so many things in world—from a movie to an amusement park ride—started with code. I wrote about this in a StoryWeaver story called “Coding is Everywhere,” illustrated by my fellow Googler Ma'ayan Rosenzweig. If more kids learned how to code, think about how many cool things we could build!

Illustrations from the story.

I found my own passion for coding when I least expected it. This CSEdWeek, try coding for carrots, create your own Google logo or even a holiday emoji. You might discover how exciting coding can be for you.

Hacking Your Career as a Non-Developer

1 week ago

It’s Monday again, which means another Reader Question Monday.  This week, rather than renew my assault on all things sacred to software developers, why don’t I mount an assault on the design profession? I’m kidding about the assault part.  Probably.  But today’s question comes from a designer.  I consider this cool because we knowledge workers […]

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Erik Dietrich

The High Five: what people searched for this week

1 week 2 days ago

Amidst allegations against prominent men in media, people were abuzz about a royal engagement and feeling generous on Giving Tuesday. Here are a few of the top search trends this week:

Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor

People are searching for media personalities Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor this week, following their firings due to allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. People searched to find out more about Lauer and Keillor’s accusers, and details about the complaints. Following the news, search interest in Lauer’s former “Today Show” co-host Katie Couric went up 1,700 percent and interest in current co-host Savannah Guthrie went up nearly 500 percent.

I now pronounce you prince and princess

Prince Harry is officially off the market, now engaged to American actress Meghan Markle. In the U.S., people are wondering how it all started—the top searched question about the engagement was “Who introduced Prince Harry to Meghan?” But people in the U.K. are looking ahead to wedding day, searching to find out “Will we get a day off when Prince Harry gets married?” And everyone wants to know how much Markle’s ring will sparkle—this week’s “engagement ring” searches were all related to to Harry’s bride-to-be.

Give a little bit

Last week was all about eating, and this week was all about giving. People searched for organizations to donate to this Giving Tuesday—the top searched philanthropic organizations were Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill and Salvation Army. Other top questions about charity and philanthropy were “where to donate clothes,” “how to start a nonprofit” and “how to start a GoFundMe page.”

Sneeze season

Early estimates show that Australia's flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective at preventing the this year’s strain of the virus, leading to searches in the U.S. like “How effective is the 2017 flu vaccine?” and “What are the ingredients in a flu shot?” Earlier this week, “flu shot” was searched 220 percent more than “flu symptoms,” as some people are still looking to get a shot—another top search was “How much is the flu shot at CVS?” Top regions searching for influenza vaccine were Connecticut, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Heads or tails?

Search interest in “bitcoin” reached an all-time high in the U.S. this week, as prices peaked. But questions remain about this cryptic cryptocurrency—top searches were “What is bitcoin?” “How to buy Bitcoin” and “How to invest in Bitcoin.” Other than bitcoin, top searched cryptocurrencies were Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.

DaedTech Digest: Analysis Rules, Singletons, and Log Aggregation

1 week 3 days ago

Happy Friday, DaedTech readers!  Time for yet another installment of the DaedTech Digest. I didn’t do one last week because of the US holiday.  For those of you not from the US, there’s this holiday called Black Friday that everybody celebrates by getting together and eating turkey the day before and then subsequently bludgeoning one […]

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Erik Dietrich

Remote Programming Jobs: How to Find Them and Why You Should

1 week 5 days ago

I’m going to take a break from my aggressive war on status quo wage programming jobs today.  Instead, I’ll offer something a little more how-to-y and a little more upbeat.  And I won’t once try to talk you out of salaried employment.  Instead, I’ll try to talk you into it.  Or, at least into a […]

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Erik Dietrich

Searching for new ways to give this season

1 week 5 days ago

Search has always been a place to find information about events, news, people, entertainment, music and organizations you want to learn more about. Now you can take your searches one step further by donating directly to organizations you care about using Google Search.


Starting today, when you search for a growing list of U.S.-based nonprofits, you’ll see a new “Donate” option. Tap or click on Donate, and you’ll see an easy donation flow that lets you give to your favorite organization as easily as you can look up its history, phone number, or website.

Simply search for a nonprofit like [Direct Relief], and you’ll be able to easily donate with a few clicks or taps.

We’ve seen people’s generosity throughout 2017, especially in times of crisis and need. And earlier this year, we made a commitment to continue to bring the best of our people, products, and philanthropy to make an impact and help create opportunity for everyone. We pledged $1 billion in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. And we'll continue to find new ways to support nonprofits through products like Search.   


We’re starting with organizations in the U.S. across causes and locales who have opted in through Google for Nonprofits, and we hope that more opt in moving forward. For those organizations who would like to learn more or be a part of this feature, please visit google.com/nonprofits/.


By some estimates, nearly 30 percent of all giving happens during the holiday season. This spirit shines in our search trends, too, with many people looking for ways to donate and support nonprofits. We hope this feature makes it easier for nonprofits to reach potential supporters, and for you to donate to important causes, this holiday season and beyond.

Stay on top of finance information on Google

1 week 5 days ago

Global Search interest in finance and stocks has more than doubled in the last five years. That’s why we’re introducing an expanded finance experience directly inside Google Search on desktop and the mobile web.

Now under a new search navigation tab called “Finance,” you’ll have easier access to finance information based on your interests, keeping you in the know about the latest market news and helping you get in-depth insights about companies. On this page, you can see performance information about stocks you've chosen to follow, recommendations on other stocks to follow based on your interests, related news, market indices, and currencies.

You can find this new experience by clicking "more" after conducting a search on Google for finance-related information or "Market summary" in the finance section of Search. For those who visit google.com/finance, you’ll see this new experience as well.

As part of this revamped experience, we’re retiring a few features of the original Google Finance, including the portfolio, the ability to download your portfolio, and historical tables. However, a list of the stocks from your portfolio will be accessible through Your Stocks in the search result, and you can get notifications when there are any notable changes on their performance.

We hope to continue to improve this experience in the future. For now, we’d love to hear your feedback—just click the “Send feedback” link at the bottom of the page to let us know what you think.

Learning in a World Where Programming Skills Aren’t That Important

2 weeks ago

After a couple of weeks doing Reader Question Monday on a Tuesday, I’m back on track.  I’ll briefly congratulate myself before moving on to the potentially pot-stirring topic of programming skills. Today’s question is one I’ve gotten a LOT, but have struggled to answer.  I didn’t want to write on the subject until I had […]

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Erik Dietrich